Arts & Culture

Southern Pets Through the Centuries

A new exhibit at the Charleston Museum explores the bond between people and the animals they love


As collections manager of the Charleston Museum, Jennifer McCormick has spent a lot of time organizing the more than 40,000 photos in the archives, and over the past few years, she started to notice something: Even in the mid-1800s, people wanted to capture images of their pets. That realization inspired the exhibit, In the Company of Animals: Pets of Charleston, which opens this week and will run through the end of the year. It gives visitors a glimpse into the lives of Charlestonians and their beloved companions from 1897 through the 1930s. “There are a few cats and other animals, although not as many as dogs,” she says. “The same as it is today.” Also the same: the universal feeling pets inspire. Photos in the exhibit include a sharecropper’s son with his puppy taken at Magnolia Plantation in 1926, Charlotta Drayton and her terrier on what would have been a two-or-three-day automobile trip to Asheville, North Carolina, and Franklin Frost Sams, a physician and amateur photographer who captured many of the other photos in the collection, with his goat in his South-of-Broad backyard.

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